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Artist and former Abingdon native John Sauers returns to his roots for a gallery show and reception at The Gallery @ Barr Photographics
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Familiar Scenes

Artist and former Abingdon native John Sauers returns to his roots for a gallery show and reception at The Gallery @ Barr Photographics

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Locust, Bales, Storm

"Locust Tree, Hay Bales, Approaching Storm" oil on canvas by John Sauers

ABINGDON, Va. — John Sauers won’t stop painting and dreaming and trying to share his ideas with his fans.

At 88, his artwork is back in Abingdon, a town where art gallery owner Dean Barr calls Sauers a pioneer for producing pieces that helped Abingdon flourish as an arts community.

In turn, Sauers praises Barr’s commitment to the arts. “Dean is the only gallery dealer who has survived all the others,” Sauers said. “I support him. I’ve got a good clientele.”

Born in 1933, Sauers moved to the greater Abingdon area after building a house with his wife, Jeanette, in the Green Cove-Whitetop community during the 1980s.

Autumnal Change

“Autumnal Change” oil on canvas by John Sauers

For years, he had studios at the Arts Depot and the William King Museum of Art.

All the while, he remained a collector of books and a traveler with a heart for history.

Today, he’s showing off his work at Barr’s gallery on Main Street in Abingdon with an August show featuring nature pieces.

Sauers lives in Darlington, Maryland, these days. There, he often goes out and paints scenes — part of which is what he’s showing off in Abingdon.

‘The styling is different on these paintings,’ Sauers said. “I’ve used a lot more simple form, pushing into a deeper depth of nature as nature presents itself on a seasonal basis.”

The paintings feature triangular shapes, crows and pine trees.

Buzzard Rock

“Buzzard Rock, Whitetop VA.” oil on canvas by John Sauers

“I like to inject the crow,” he said “The crow knows. The crow can tell you anything.”

In all, he has 24 paintings on exhibit.

“Some are small, like 12 by 12. And you’ll see a consistency in the subject matter.’

What does that mean?

“There’s not any scene that I present in the form of a painting that I haven’t looked at it for three years before I paint it,” he said. “There’s not fooling around. I know where I’m going with it.”

Distant Hills Jan

"Distant Hills of January" oil on canvas by John Sauers

One of the scenes that he has painted includes a view of Buzzard Rock on Whitetop Mountain. “It’s not a bright, sunny-day scene,” he said.

In that scene, he put a figure of a person — with a brush stroke — to give the painting a sense of measurement.

“The spirit of place, that’s the most important thing,” he said.

“At my age, I’m not going to stop. You still grow at 88,” he said. “I’m not the brightest kid on the block. But, every day, there’s something to learn.”

jtennis@bristolnews.com | 276-791-0709 | @BHC_Tennis

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